Horizon 2020: Latest News

Progress has been made on numerous issues, both in terms of the overall Framework Programme and on the Rules for Participation, but there are still a number of outstanding issues still to be resolved between the Council of the EU, the Irish Presidency and the European Parliament.

 The most contentious issue is the funding model. The Council support the overall simplification model proposed by the Commission – one funding model with 100% direct cost reimbursement and a flat rate for indirect costs for all types of participants – and the Parliament support a more complex model which will have different provisions for different types of participants and also the option for full cost accounting.

Structure                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The European Parliament is still pushing for a prominent place for the objective of “Widening Participation” and associated programmes in the Excellence Pillar (1) of Horizon 2020, which is something that the Member States oppose.

The Parliament has also proposed a separate Societal Challenge for “Science with and for Society”, which is similar to the FP7 Science in Society programme, but there is no support for this within the Council.

SMEs                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Parliament has suggested measures to have more targeted support for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. While the original Commission proposal foresees the SME instrument, the Parliament has suggested the so-called Fast Track to Innovation scheme. This is similar to the scheme proposed by the Commission but would target all participants including larger firms.

The European Parliament has proposed a number of changes to the objectives and activity lines set out in the original Commission proposal. Some of these have been integrated, but in a few areas the Council and Parliament positions could not yet be reconciled. The most relevant proposed changes to our research at Lincoln are those relating to energy and cultural heritage:

Energy – This includes the Energy Societal Challenge, where there is disagreement on the budget allocation and where the Parliament would like to see an increase in budget overall. The Parliament wants to earmark 15% of the Challenge budget for the market uptake of energy innovation and reduce fossil fuel related activities and is insistent on having a number of new sub-activity lines.
Cultural heritage – Another issue is how and where cultural heritage is addressed under Horizon 2020. Both institutions agree that parts of cultural heritage can be addressed in the Environment Challenge 5, and others under Challenge 6, now likely to be the “SSH” challenge. However, there is still disagreement on how this is implemented in detail, and under which activity and sub-activity lines cultural heritage will appear in the final Programme.

For more information on the new funding programme, and to see the most recent updates, please follow the link below: